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What is an Education Savings Account (ESA)?

Education savings accounts (ESAs) in K-12 education establish for parents a publicly funded, government-authorized savings account with restricted, but multiple uses for educational purposes. Parents may use the funds to pay for expenses including: school tuition, tutoring, online education programs, therapies for students with special needs, textbooks or other instructional materials, and sometimes, save for college.

Watch the short video below to see how ESAs work for families.

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Seventeen States with ESAs

Check out the list below for quick links to those program details, which include approved expense types, family eligibility tests, participation numbers, funding amounts and more.

Fast Facts

Do you know which was America’s first ESA program? Which is the biggest? For more little-known truths about America’s education savings account programs, visit our ESA fast facts.

What types of services are parents purchasing with their children’s ESAs?

Though many ESA families use their funds to pay for private school tuition, 28 percent spend the money on multiple learning services. Collectively, families even saved 31 percent of total ESA funds and accumulated more than $67,000 in college savings plans in 2016. Our Ed Debit Card study examines parent spending data from the nation’s first and oldest ESA program. Check out our study for more details.

Parent Satisfaction with ESA Programs

Researchers have surveyed parents who use the longest-running ESA program in the nation: the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program. The majority of ESA parents in Arizona are satisfied with their children’s schools, but there is room for states to further improve how these programs work for families. Read more of from this report below.